A special type of x-ray using very low dose radiation to image the tissue of the breasts in women or, yes, men also. It is the very best way to detect breast cancer. Often small cancers are found on mammogram, before a lump would be felt on breast exam. Medical science does not know exactly why breast cancer occurs, but if found early it is treatable and often curable. There are two different types of mammograms, which your physician may order.
Screening Mammogram: This is the exam for women who have no breast symptoms.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women over 40 have a yearly mammogram. Your physician may recommend a screening mammogram before you are 40 if there are risk factors for breast cancer. This exam consists of two images taken on each breast.
Diagnostic Mammogram: This exam is for patients who have some breast symptoms such as a lump or nipple discharge or for more images of an abnormal area of breast tissue discovered during a screening mammogram. You will have at least 3 images of each breast and possibly more depending on what the Radiologist recommends.
When your exam is scheduled, please request a time that is in the middle of your menstrual cycle as some women have sore breasts near menstruation. This will lessen the discomfort of the exam. Do not put any deodorant, powder or cream on your breasts or underarms on the day of the exam as some of these have metal content, which can show on the mammogram. You will have to undress from the waist up, so wear a two-piece outfit.
If you have had a mammogram at another facility, please call that facility and request your films to be sent to this facility before your appointment. The radiologist should compare your current mammogram to the previous one and sometimes you can be saved additional mammogram views by having these previous films available. If the radiologist has to wait on your previous films, the report to your physician will be delayed.
When you arrive at the the Dahlonega Clinic or the Dawson Clinic, sign in at the front desk in the main lobby. Your personal information and insurance information will be taken by one of the admissions personnel. Then you will be called back to the mammography department and asked to change into a disposable cape. You will be asked to fill out a short form with your medical history. A female mammography technologist will position your breast on the mammography x-ray unit. She will then apply compression to the breast. This may be uncomfortable but it is necessary for a truly accurate exam of the breast. Let her know if you are unable to tolerate the compression. When the technologist completes the exam, she will ask you to wait while she processes the films and checks the quality of the films.
The radiologist will review the films and compare them to your previous films, if this was not your first exam, and a report will be available to your physician within 2-3 days.
You will also receive a letter from this facility approximately 1 week after the radiologist reads your mammogram. This letter is required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if the mammogram facility is a certified facility. You may be requested to return for additional views or a breast ultrasound to complete your exam. This letter is not intended to replace your physician discussing your mammogram results with you.